Don’t Tell Me That–Creative Edition

As a writer one thing I want -aside from being paid to write- is for people to read what I write. When I publish something, or on the rare occasion when someone else publishes something I write, I naturally tell people about it because I’m excited. Something of mine is available to be read by your eyeballs! You should do that! I encourage it!

So, the last thing I want to hear when I tell you that something I’ve written is ready to be consumed is all of the reasons why you’re not going to read it.

Don’t tell me that.

I don’t need to hear how you won’t read my story because it’s not what you usually read or that you don’t like the genre or that you don’t have the time or that you don’t really read. I don’t need your excuses about why you’re not going to read my work. Just tell me “That’s great!” and we’ll all move on with our day. It saves a lot of awkwardness of me smiling and reassuring you that’s it’s all good while inside I’m dying of embarrassment.

I know why people do this. They’re worried that I’m going to later ask if they’ve read it. They’re worried I’m going to ask what they thought of it. They don’t want to get caught out later by having not done their homework. However, I’m not looking for a book report. There will be no quiz. This is not for a grade.

This is simply an announcement.

Like I said, as I a writer, what I want most is for people to read what I write. But I don’t expect it. I’m not going to insist that you read one of my stories just because we’re friends or family or acquaintances or I simply know of your existence. I would prefer that you read what I write because you want to, not because you think you have to. Nothing good comes of that.

Because that’s something else I don’t want you to tell me. How much you loved something I wrote when you didn’t actually like it. Or even want to read it. Yes, I do like to receive feedback on my stories, especially positive feedback. My ego loves to be fed. But I don’t need false praise. I’ve been rejected enough. My writer’s skin is pretty thick. It’s okay if you don’t like something I write.

Just don’t tell me that.

Even if you tell me that you’re going to read something I wrote, I’m not going to follow up with that. I’m not going to ask you if you got around to reading it or not, and I’m not going to ask you what you thought of it. In this case, I’m not going to hold you to your word about reading something you said you would. As far as I’m concerned, that’s up to you. And what you think about what I wrote is none of my business unless you choose to make it so. It’s not a requirement.

So, if you don’t like it, I’d rather you keep it to yourself. There’s no need to pretend that you did, nor tell me that you didn’t.

This is our get out of awkwardness free card.

I won’t ask, so you don’t have to tell me that.

Writing–Moving On Up

Downtown highrise Miami FL USA 1589

Okay, the title of this post is misleading because in truth I am not going anywhere. What has “moved on up” is a couple of items now gracing the link bar up top right underneath my lovely banner.

Notice the additions?

Here, I’ll help.

First of all, I’ve moved the links to the stories I’ve had published from the sidebar to the top. They were buried down there like I was ashamed of them and there’s no telling how many people missed them because there weren’t prominently displayed. So now if you click on the “Read me” link above, you’re taken right to the list. And the freebies are listed first, in case you’re not ready for a monetary commitment (hopefully reading the freebies will convince you to invest a little green in my work, you know what I’m saying?).

The second change is the addition of a new experiment under the heading “Chapter One”. This is a feedback experiment. All I’ve done is posted the first chapter of one of my novel manuscripts and asked a simple question: Would you read more of this book?

This accomplishes two things. One, it satisfies my need for feedback, positive or negative. Writing is lonely and a lot of it is done without any sort of encouragement or acknowledgement of any kind. When you get to a point in which you wonder whether or not you should be spending all of your time on this project, a little feedback helps, preferably honest feedback.

Yes, I realize that I’m setting myself up for serious disappointment if a bunch of people tell me that they wouldn’t read any more of the book. However, that’s not going to discourage me from finishing the rewrites and revisions. I want it to be done and it’s going to be done. It might, though, seriously discourage me from trying to get it published. But that’s a bridge that I’ll cross should I get there.

I think the bigger possibility is that no one will read the chapter at all. Or they might read it, but they won’t comment on it. And that’s a disappointment I’m used to and it’s not going to dissuade me much from going all the way with this book.

There’s something fun and risky about putting this first chapter out like this. It’s something I don’t normally do. My roommate reads a lot of my short stories when I’m in doubt, but my novel manuscripts are rarely seen by any other eyes. Letting it go like this is a step for me.

I’m pretty sure it’s a step in the right direction.